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Beaver Bank bus riders bewildered by Halifax Transit changes

Beaver Bank residents raise concerns with Route 400 changes
A group of concerned citizens in Beaver Bank took a bus to City Hall on Thursday to protest at council's transportation committee route changes to the 400 Beaver Bank bus. Jesse Thomas explains.

A group of concerned Beaver Bank transit riders protested cuts to their bus route at Halifax City Hall Thursday.

Approximately seven kilometres were cut from the route in November when transit changes were rolled out.

Protestors say it’s isolating people in the north end of the community who rely on public transportation.

“And now people that have used the bus for 30 years have a seven-kilometre walk on an unpaved shoulder, that’s dimly lit to get to the bus service now,” said Lyle Mailman, a transit rider from Beaver Bank.

READ MORE: Purcell’s Cove residents fight to prevent reduction of Halifax bus route

A dozen people boarded the new 86 Beaver Bank bus that took them to the Sackville terminal where they made boarded the 84 bus to downtown Halifax with their protest signs in hand, to speak at the Transportation Standing Committee meeting.

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Waverley-Fall River-Beaver Bank MLA Bill Horne was one of the speakers and said the cuts leave the Ivy Meadows assisted living home employees and its residents stranded on an island.

Horne said a pre-school group that used to board a bus and visit the elderly as part of a socializing program has been lost by the transit changes.

“That’s not going to happen anymore, the bus doesn’t go out there far enough and the daycare centres don’t have transportation to take a large number of children out to see and socialize,” said Horne.

One after the others the transit riders voiced their concerns to the committee. Mailman held a copy of the “Moving Forward Together” plan, a document designed to improve transit connectivity and service. But he said it’s having the opposite effect for residents of Beaver Bank.

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“We’re moving together apart,” said Mailman. “We were supposed to have this service for another year… and the reasoning we had was a software update allowed it to be fast-tracked. We need your help.”

In November sweeping changes to transit routes were implemented across the Halifax Municipality.

READ MORE: Dartmouth woman charged after allegedly assaulting Halifax Transit driver

Councillor Tim Outhit sits on the committee and after hearing the transit riders’ concerns, asked Rave Reage, the director of Halifax transit to address the citizens, but chair Lorelei Nicoll denied that request and Reage didn’t answer.

Outhit was looking for an answer to the group’s concerns.

“I think we need a response from staff on how “Moving Forward Together” changes have worked and what we’re planning to do about people who can get on the bus,” said Outhit.

Deputy mayor Lisa Blackburn represents the Beaver Bank district said the route change was shortsighted.